Japan in Chinese and Japanese Historic Accounts
I. Chinese Accounts of Japan

    A. First century B.C.E. "Japan" referred to as Wa (C: Wo): Hanshu

        1. Wa denigrated "Japanese" as "dwarfs"

        2. More than 300 tribal communities evident

        3. Chinese differentiated Japan's "island culture" from their own

    B. Official Dynastic Histories

        1. Descriptions of "barbarian neighbors"

        2. History of the Kingdom of Wei (Wei zhi, ca. 297)

            a. described as island people southeast of Daifang

            b. Wa people sent tribute envoys during the Han (221 B.C.E.- 220)

            c. funeral behavior noted

                i. single coffin---no outer coffin

                ii. mourning observed for more than 10 days

                iii. no meat consumed during mourning

                iv. wailing, lamenting, but also singing, dance, and drinking

                v. graves covered with a mound

                vi. post-funeral bath of purification for family members

            d. divination using baked bones

            e. "Mourning keeper" designated in voyages to China

                i. "mourning keeper" does not bath, groom, eat meat, etc

                ii. if voyage is successful, he is rewarded

                iii. disastrous voyages result in his death

            f. Mannerisms

                i. fond of liquor

                ii. no distinction between father and son, men and women

                iii. worship by clapping hands --- no bowing or kneeling

                iv. no theft, litigation infrequent

                v. class distinctions evident --- higher and lower socially

                vi. legal punishment inflicted on families, not individuals

                vii. taxes collected, granaries organized

        g. Government: The Rule of Pimiko

                i. formerly ruled by a man, but chronic warfare prevailed

                ii. people agreed on a female ruler, Pimiko

                iii. Pimiko governed as a shamaness, obsessed with magic

                iv. Pimiko secluded, attended by 1000 women

                v. surrounded by armed guards

                vi. Wei emperor recognized Pimiko as Queen of Wa (238)

                vii. mound erected upon Pimiko's death--- over 100 followed her in death

                viii. attempt at restoring male rule led to anarchy

                ix. Iyo, a female relative of Pimiko, made Queen

        3. History of the Latter Han Dynasty (Hou Han shu, ca. 445)

        4. History of the Liu Song Dynasty (Songshu, ca. 513)

            a. Japanese male rulers recognized by Chinese emperors

            b. referred to as "Generalissimo Who Maintains Peace in the East..."

            c. Japanese military hegemony over southern Korea recognized twice

                i. Paekche, Silla claimed as Japanese territories

                ii. later source of controversy between Japanese & Korean historians

            d. Koguryo blamed with raiding Japanese tribute missions

            e. King Bu (Yuryaku, 456-79) requests recognition by Liu-Song emperor

                i. Bu intends to punish Koguryo for its raids

                ii. Chinese imperial sanction for the attack sought

        5. History of the Sui Dynasty (Sui shu, ca. 630)

            a. Wa royal practices criticized as "extremely senseless"

            b.  legal practices described, included trial by ordeal

            c. no written language prior to the introduction of Buddhism from Paekche

            d. divination practiced, profound faith in shamans, male and female, noted

            e. Paekche and Silla supposedly regarded Wa as "a great country"

            f. 607 Letter Addressed to the Sui emperor criticized as "discourteous"

                i. "Child of Heaven (emperor) in the land where the sun rises...."

                ii. Sui emperor asked that such addresses not be repeated

        6. New History of the Tang Dynasty (Xin Tang shu, 11th century)

            a. records change of name from Wa to Nippon

            b. Ainu described as accompanying tribute missions

            c. Japan's role in Korean power struggles noted

            d. people described as literate, worshipping the Buddha

            e. ruler formerly called mikoto (sovereign), but now tenno (emperor)

II. Japanese "historical" accounts

    A. Records of Ancient Matters (Kojiki 712)

        1. Opens with religious myths: Kami no yo "Age of the Gods"

         2. Chinese histories open with accounts of sage-rulers

    B. Chronicles of Japan (Nihon shoki or Nihongi, 720)

    C. Izanagi and Izanami

        1. credited with creation of Japanese islands

        2. procreation of the gods, humanity, flora, fauna, etc.

        3. Japan referred to as Yamato